McDonald’s french fries are crunchy, delightfully salty, and covered in pesticides. That last point may not be true for much longer now that the company has agreed to survey and promote best practices in potato pesticide use reduction. McDonald’s Corp., the largest purchaser of potatoes in the U.S., will disclose its findings to shareholders and in its annual corporate social responsibility report.
Since McDonald’s doesn’t grow its own potatoes, the company will ask suppliers like ConAgra and J.R. Simplot to cut down pesticide use. And since ConAgra and J.R. Simplot also supply potatoes to other companies, McDonald’s will succeed in shaking up the entire potato supply chain. Imagine the positive repercussions if it did the same thing for, say, tomatoes.
Next up for MickeyD’s: spearheading a better-beef coalition along with Cargill, Wal-Mart, and trade and environmental groups. The company already buys stock from sustainable fisheries and recycles 100% of its frying oil in the U.K. into biodiesel.
Whether McDonald’s pesticide initiative succeeds remains to be seen, but it is an important step regardless for an industry that is not exactly known for social responsibility.